Outdoor party games are always a winner at any event! In addition to being great fun for kids, they help promote and develop skill sets, keep kids occupied and encourage physical development. Different outdoor games encourage different skills and social development–games like Red Rover practice patience and manners. They can learn listening skills and follow instructions with games like Simon Says. Almost any game where kids play together or on teams helps them practice social skills, learn to make decisions and cooperate with others.
Outdoor games for kids like Capture the Flag help to develop strategy, spontaneity and problem-solving skills. Also, any time kids can share their playtime with a parent is special for that child, no matter the child’s age. Playing with parents creates memories and love.
When children play outdoors, they also get an opportunity to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence. Outside games for kids increase flexibility, fine and gross motor skills and are related to the development of a wide variety of physical skills.
Structured and unstructured outdoor party games are beneficial, healthy and fun for kids. From walking barefoot in grass and sand to watching birds build nests to playing card games or hopscotch, children will learn, feel and experience in different ways. Getting the kids off the electronics nowadays is a huge challenge, and that’s why it’s important to promote outdoor party games your event. Outdoor play is something that is rapidly disappearing in the 21st century. That’s why we need to ensure outdoor games for kids at parties are fun, interactive, age-appropriate and safe.
This article takes a peek into traditional structured games that children can play outdoors. Google will give you a hefty amount of information and instructions for any outdoor party games for kids listed here with which you are not familiar.
Sidewalk Games (Ages 4 & Up)
Many of these outdoor games involve using chalk to draw boundary lines or circles on blacktop or concrete. Spray chalk (it’s relatively new) is also available now; it can be used on surfaces traditional chalk doesn’t work on such as grass, snow and sand.
- Hopscotch. A set of 10 squares is vertically drawn with sidewalk chalk in the order of 1, 2 & 3, 4, 5 & 6, 7, 8 & 9, 10. Kids jump on 1 with one foot, 2 & 3 with both feet, 4 with one foot, and so on up to ten. Anyone who uses the wrong amount of feet or falls is eliminated.
- Jump rope. An extra-long rope means more participants at once and more fun! Contests and tournaments can be created.
- Dominoes. Have kids set up a long string of do and knock them down. Have races and length competitions.
Five Stones. This outdoor party game is a little more advanced and is played with jacks. The object of the game is to complete all your moves without being eliminated. You are out if you catch no “stones” (jacks).
- Move 1: Throw all the stones up in the air and attempt to catch them on the back of your hand.
- Move 2: Throw all the stones up in the air with the back of your hand and attempt to catch them in your hand.
- Move 3: Toss up one stone and pick one up off the ground before catching the tossed stone.
- Move 4: Toss up one stone and pick two up off the ground before catching the tossed stone.
- Move 5: Toss up one stone and pick three up off the ground before catching the tossed stone.
- Move 6: Toss up one stone and pick four up off the ground before catching the tossed stone.
- Anyone who completes all 6 moves wins! Keep playing til there’s only one winner left.
- London Bridge. This outdoor yard game consists of several players, usually six or more. Two stand across from one another and join hands to form a “bridge”. The other players march under the “bridge” and hold the waist of the player in front of them. The bridge players sing “London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down! London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady!” At the last word, the “bridge” comes down to catch the person underneath. Whoever gets caught is eliminated. Take turns going in different directions to keep things even.
Hunt-and-Find Games (Ages 4 & Up)
- Hot & Cold. This game is played by a player hiding an object, and another person searching for that object around a large play area. The hider tells the finder whether he/she is “hot” (close) or “cold” (far) until the searcher locates the object.
- Treasure Hunts. Treasure hunts are a simple and fun idea for DIY yard games. Hide “treasure”, such as favors, gems or candy, around a large play area. Let the kids loose to search! Finders, keepers.
- Scavenger Hunts. This outdoor game is played when kids use a master list to find hidden objects. Make sure there is enough hidden for each child to find and that the lists are age-appropriate.
Hide-and-Seek Kids’ Outdoor Games (Ages 4 & Up)
- I Spy. This game is played when someone “spies” a certain object. A person asks the spier yes-or-no questions relating to the object, such as “is it green?” or “does it have legs?”. The spier answers yes or no until the person guesses which object the spier has spied on.
- Sheep & Wolf. This outside party game is played with a few designated “wolves” and the rest of the players as “sheep”. If possible, tag the wolves somehow with headbands or name tags so that the sheep may identify them more easily. The object is for the wolves to tag the sheep. Once a sheep is tagged, he/she is eliminated from the game. Wolves may tag a sheep either by hand or by tossing soft spongy balls (if you have them) at them. The game is over when all the sheep have been tagged.
- Cops & Robbers. Robbers all stand together in a circle and designate a safe zone. “Cops” are scattered around the play area, and bean bags are randomly placed within the play area. The “robbers” attempt to steal bean bags and return them to their safe zone without being “caught” (tagged) by a “cop”. If a robber is tagged, he is eliminated. The game is over once all the bean bags have been stolen or once all the “robbers” are out.
Tag & Chase Backyard Birthday Party Games (Ages 4 & Up)
- Duck, Duck, Goose. Duck, Duck, Goose is an outdoor party game played with children sitting in a circle. One child walks around the outside of the circle and taps each player’s head as he walks around. He labels each player a “duck” and, at random, chooses a “goose”. The “goose” must get up and chase the tagger around the circle before the tagger runs around and steals the goose’s seat. If the goose loses, he becomes the tagger. If the tagger loses, he must repeat the game until he wins a seat.
- Capture the Flag. This fun party game for kids is played with 2 flags and 2 teams. Each team takes possession of the other team’s flag and hides it in a guarded location. The players attempt to steal their flag back and return it to their home base before being tagged and frozen by the opposing team. Whoever claims their flag first wins.
- Steal the Bacon. This game is played with children forming a straight line next to one another. Another set of children forms another line across from the first line, and an object is placed between the two lines of children. When the moderator says “go”, the two children standing facing one another on either side both race to the “bacon” (object). Whoever picks the bacon up wins a point for their side.
Strength/Wrestling Outdoor Games for Kids Ages 4 & Up
- Tug of War. A long, strong rope with ties in it is needed for this outside party game. A set of three or four children each stand on one end of the rope. Each team “tugs” at the rope until one team pulls the other team over a line drawn under the center of where the rope initially was.
- Red Rover. This game is played with 2 teams. Players on each team stand side-by-side with their arms linked; the two teams face one another and stand about thirty feet apart. One team starts by saying “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (any player’s name on the other team) on over!” The person whose name was called then runs to the other team and attempts to “break” the chain by running through people’s linked arms.
- King of the Hill. Simple like it sounds, one person stands on a hill or elevated platform. Other players attempt to “remove” the King and take his place. The way this is done depends on rules set before the game starts, but the most popular removal method is wrestling or pushing the King off the hill. Adult supervision may be needed for this game.
Water-Based Outside Party Games for Kids Ages 4 & Up
- Water Balloons. Kids love water balloons! Make sure to do this on a warm summer day. They’ll love inflating the balloons themselves and forming competitive teams.
- Marco Polo. In a pool, one person closes his/her eyes and stands in the middle. Every other participant scatters around the pool. The middle person says “Marco” and another person else says “Polo”. Marco’s goal is to locate Polo(s) with his/her eyes closed and tag Polo.
- Sprinkler. It’s simple; bust out the sprinkler! Kids will love it!
- Slip-N-Slide. Slip-n-slides are available at most retailers. All you need is a hose and enough room to set it up.
- Kiddy Pool. For young kids or just a relaxing time, set up a kiddy pool. Use sprinklers, a hose and water balloons for extra fun.
Outdoor Games for Babies One Year and Younger
WebMD suggests developmental skills games for babies up to one year. They can be played outside, and they are:
- Peek-A-Boo! Play peek-a-boo with baby by hiding around different locations. Hide for a moment until he/she has forgotten you, then peek around and say “Boo!”. Baby will love it!
- Baby See, Baby Do. Perform simple, easy actions that baby can try to replicate, such as sticking out your tongue, opening and closing your hand and giving high-fives.
- Dance Around. Simply put on some music and get in the groove! Keep eye contact with baby, smile and encourage him/her to dance. Watch her slick moves!
- Patty Cake. Sing patty cake with baby and try to get him/her to do the hand movements with you. The lyrics are “Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man, bake me a cake as fast as you can! Roll it, and pound it, and mark it with a C, and put it in the oven for baby and me!”.
- Got Your Nose! “Take” baby’s nose by putting the tip of your thumb between your index and middle fingers. Tell him/her you have his/her nose and see if he/she can get it back!
Of course, remember to keep baby safe! Lay out a blanket on the sand or grass and apply sunscreen if need be. Babies’ skin is sensitive!
Outdoor Birthday Party Games for One- to Three-Year-Old’s
- Ring Around the Rosie. Everyone stands in a circle and holds hands. The lyrics are ‘Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posie, ashes, ashes, we all fall down’. On “all fall down”, everyone falls to the ground. The last one to hit the ground is eliminated!
- Hokey-Pokey. The infamous song game! It’s a follow-along song.
- Musical Chairs. Consider using carpet squares instead of chairs for this game; it will be easier for the children. Otherwise, put chairs in a circle and have someone play music. The children walk around the chairs inside the circle and when the music stops, each kid competes for a seat. The seat-less child is eliminated and one chair is removed each round until there’s a winner.
Use Discount Party Supplies for Your Outdoor Games!
Discount Party Supplies offers many outdoor party games and supplies for gaming, such as bubbles, favors and other fun objects. Check out our other blog articles for more great content to help make your party a success!